According to a study, obstructive sleep apnea patients sleep better following surgery for improving their breathing and are therefore less drowsy throughout the day.
The research found that daytime sleepiness is considerably reduced with surgery, a common side effect from obstructive sleep apnea in comparison to other non-surgical treatment options.
An estimated 4% of men and 2% of women in the U.S. are affected by obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, which increases risk of coronary artery disease, hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, and death.
Obstructive sleep apnea happens because of the collapse of the throat airway while sleeping. The periodic pauses in breathing and the loud snoring caused by the blocked airway can result in excessive daytime sleepiness.
The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea has been CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy while sleeping, which makes use of a machine that increases air pressure in the throat for preventing the collapsing of the airway.
A number of surgical interventions are available to help obstructive sleep apnea patients open up the airway, by removing the tonsils or excess tissue at the back of the throat, or destroying tissue at the base of the tongue with radiofrequency waves.
For the study 40 individuals underwent 1 of 3 surgical interventions – tonsillectomy, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or radiofrequency ablation of the tongue base.
All individuals had at the very least mild obstructive sleep apnea as well as excessive daytime sleepiness. Before surgery, most individuals reported experiencing snoring, fatigue, and failing to successfully make use of CPAP.
Both before and after surgery, individuals completed the Epworth Sleepiness Score questionnaire that measures the daytime sleepiness level by rating sleepiness level during 8 common daytime activities like reading, watching TV, or driving.
Prior to surgery, all individuals reported having an Epworth Sleepiness Score of 10 or more during the day, which is considered “very sleepy”.
38 individuals’ scores were considerably reduced after surgery, with an average score of 5.5. One individual had no change in his score, while 2 had an increase.
A 50% reduction in apnea/hypopnea events during sleep was also experienced following surgery.
The Epworth Sleepiness Score improvement after surgery was better than generally reported with CPAP therapy.